The Short Report - Oct. 21, 2020: Perimeter Institute accelerates quantum matter research, Fanshawe develops tool to assess COVID-19 treatments, and more

Cindy Graham
October 21, 2020


Scientists appointed by the Royal Society of Canada Task Force on COVID-19 report that Canada’s pandemic success relies on open-drug discovery of anti-virals as part of a larger policy of open science. The policy briefing, Open Drug Discovery of Anti-Virals Critical for Canada’s Pandemic Success, is available for public access. – RSC

Fanshawe College’Centre for Research and Innovation has developed a safe, rapid and inexpensive method to identify the effectiveness of potential COVID-19 drug treatments. The development, which is moving from proof-of-concept to large-scale application, has the potential to make treatment testing faster and more accessible to labs around the world. – Fanshawe


The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) has launched a new two-year strategic plan, Momentum 2020-2022. The plan focuses on five main goals: enhancing Canada's global leadership in social sciences and humanities research; growing Canada’s research talent; strengthening the research enterprise in Canada; contributing innovative solutions to global challenges and opportunities; and building a nimble, forward-looking SSHRC organization. – SSHRC

Yellowknife’s Aurora College has released a three-year strategic plan that will incorporate Indigenous, traditional and local knowledge into its teaching and research as it transitions to a polytechnic university. The plan’s strategic pillars are: academic and research excellence, organizational effectiveness, becoming "learning centred" by being open and demonstrating respect for the land, tradition, community and people, and fostering connections with the government of the Northwest Territories, Indigenous governments, communities, industry, NGOs and other academic institutions. – Aurora

The Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC) has released a White Paper written in partnership with ventureLAB to lay a framework for building a competitive and resilient scale-up ecosystem in Canada.The White Paper discusses growing Canadian startups in the context of creating, protecting and incentivizing intellectual property (IP); developing a built-to-scale-business culture; establishing Canadian anchor companies, and leveraging trade. – ICTC

Mona Nemer’s second Chief Science Advisor Annual Report is available for review. It provides a record of the activities of her office for the 15-month period from January 1, 2019 to March 31, 2020. – GoC


The independent Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics located in the Region of Waterloo, Ontario, is launching a research hub as part of a 10-year, $25- million investment to accelerate quantum matter research. The founding of the Clay Riddell Centre for Quantum Matter is made possible by a $10-million donation from the Riddell Family Charitable Foundation and will connect more than two dozen researchers and students, including four new institute faculty members. In addition to serving as a recruitment centre for quantum experts it will host conferences, collaborations and serve as a resource for numerical simulations. – Perimeter Institute

Roche Canada will invest $500 million to establish a Global Pharma Technical Operations site at its pharmaceutical headquarters in Mississauga. The five-year investment is expected to add 500 specialized jobs and attract global investment to Ontario’s growing life sciences sector. – Roche Canada

McGill University’s School of Environment has been renamed the Bieler School of Environment after Quebec agricultural food entrepreneur Marc Bieler donated $15 million to build interdisciplinary teaching, research and experiential learning capacity in environmental research. The gift consists of an initial cash investment and commitments to ensure future resources. It will also support the development of a new academic program; interdisciplinary research to address environmental issues through funding for collaboration and partnerships, and the creation of internships and awards. – McGill

The federal government is investing $20 million through the Strategic Innovation Fund in Oakville, Ontario-based Terrestrial Energy to help commercialize small modular reactor (SMR) technology, which is considered a potentially powerful resource for lowering GHG emissions. The investment will help Terrestrial complete a key licensing requirement of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission before it can bring its reactors to market. In return, Terrestrial has committed to spending $91.5 million on R&D over the course of two-and-a-half years.The project supports the government’s Innovation and Skills Plan and Canada’s SMR Roadmap. - GoC


Canadian Space Agency (CSA) president Lisa Campbell signed the Artemis Accords, a set of principles in compliance with the Outer Space Treaty of 1967 which describes the key roles international partnerships will play in achieving a sustainable presence on the Moon while preparing to conduct a human mission to Mars. Canada signed the Accords in conjunction with NASA, the Australian Space Agency, the Italian Space Agency, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, the Luxembourg Space Agency, the United Arab Emirates Space Agency, and the UK Space Agency.  – CSA

The Association québécoise de l'industrie du cannabis (AQIC) and the McGill Research Centre for Cannabis announced the launch of a cannabidiol (CBD) Research Partnership Fund to mark the second anniversary of cannabis legalization in Canada. The project will further the science around the safety and efficacy of CBD for medical application and support a CBD research project that was identified by an initial Call for Research Proposals led by professor Carolyn Baglole, associate professor in the Department of Medicine at McGill University. The fund is open to other stakeholders who wish to provide seed funding for additional innovative projects on the medical potential for CBD. –CISION

Statistics Canada has launched a new classification tool, the Canadian Research and Development Classification (CRDC), a new standard for categorizing research activities and investments in Canada. It will serve as the recommended classification system for the R&D community, including government and higher education, and align Canada with international standards. It will also replace different classifications used across the federal granting agencies. – StatsCan

Montreal-based Cogeco rejected an $11.1 billion bid for acquisition by New York cable provider Altice. This is Altice’s second offer after its $10.3 billion bid to acquire Cogeco in early September. Altice also revised their offer to sell all of Cogeco’s Canadian assets to Roger’s Communications, Cogeco’s second-largest shareholder, for $5.2 billion. Altice has said it plans to withdraw its revised offer if a deal is not reached by Nov. 18. – Cogeco

The University of Alberta is addressing the skills shortage of engineers and technicians in the renewable energy industry with a new training program. The Renewable Technologies Series will be launched online on Nov. 1 through U of A’s Faculty of Extension. The course content is geared to upskill students for specific skills needed in the renewable energy sector including project management, cost-benefit analysis, stakeholder consultation, leveraging policy tools designed for renewables, and installation. – U of A


Thevi Pather is the new associate VP, International at Saskatchewan Polytechnic. Sask Polytech created the new position as it launches its strategic plan to increase the number of skilled and entrepreneurial new Canadians in Saskatchewan and enhance its internationalization strategy. – SaskPolytec

Justice Luc Martineau was appointed chair of the Copyright Board of Canada on October 2 for a five-year term, replacing Robert Blair. The role of chair of the copyright board is to help realize reforms and eliminate backlogs in decision making. – Copyright Board of Canada

Dr. Saskia Sivananthan, the Chief Science Officer at the Alzheimer Society of Canada, has been appointed to the federal government’s Ministerial Advisory Board on Dementia, established by the federal Minister of Health in 2018 to provide evidence-based advice on dementia-related issues. CISION

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